DU leader honored at sold-out gala event
ATLANTA – Oct. 19, 2009 – Jim Kennedy, past president of Ducks Unlimited's Wetlands America Trust (WAT) and former chairman of the Wetlands for Tomorrow campaign, received the Distinguished Conservationist of the Year Award from the Georgia Conservancy on Thursday, Oct. 15. A sold-out crowd of more than 340 guests turned out to honor Kennedy and his commitment to conservation at the Conservancy's 16th-annual Eco-Benefête fundraising gala.
"We are honored to present Jim Kennedy with the Distinguished Conservationist of the Year award," said Georgia Conservancy President and former Georgia Lt. Governor Pierre Howard. "As chairman of Cox Enterprises, Kennedy has inspired 66,000 employees, vendors and industry leaders through Cox Conserves, the company's far-reaching sustainability program. Moreover, Cox Enterprises has implemented state of the art energy-saving measures, including efficient heating and cooling systems, green energy sources, hybrid fleet vehicles and water conservation, and has established a goal of further reducing the company-wide carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2017."
Jim Kennedy receives the Distinguished Conservationist of the Year Award from the Georgia Conservancy
In 1993, Kennedy became the first president of Ducks Unlimited's WAT board, a position he held for 15 years. As president of WAT, Kennedy also served as chairman of DU's Wetlands for Tomorrow campaign, the largest conservation campaign in history. Under his leadership, the campaign raised $1.2 billion within two years of its public launch.
"I can't think of a more deserving candidate for a conservation award," said Randy Graves, CEO of Ducks Unlimited. "As a DU leader, philanthropist and volunteer for more than 30 years, Jim Kennedy's passion for conservation is clear. You can see it on the prairies, where his gifts are conserving habitat for breeding waterfowl. You can see it in Colorado, Montana and Mississippi, where his conservation easements are protecting habitat in perpetuity. Jim Kennedy is the quintessential conservationist – conserving habitat, wildlife, energy – wherever and whenever he can."
In 2008, when Kennedy stepped down as WAT president, he presented DU with the largest gift by an individual in the organization's history. His gift to DU's Grassland Conservation Initiative is conserving critical waterfowl breeding habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region - the most essential habitat in the world for waterfowl, and also the most threatened.